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Helicopter Combat Pilot, Tolulope Arotile: Top Nigerians Mourn

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President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with the Nigeria Airforce Force (NAF), Kogi State Government and the family of a helicopter fighter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, over her demise.

In a statement released by Mr Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, on Wednesday, he said her stay on earth impacted greatly on the nation, especially in peace and security.

Premium Times earlier reported the death of Ms Arotile, who died on Tuesday, according to NAF, as a result of head injuries sustained from a road accident at its base in Kaduna.

NAF winged Ms Arotile as the first female helicopter fighter (combatant) pilot last year.

According to the statement, Mr Buhari commended Ms Arotile’s bravery in the field to protect the country from the onslaught of bandits and terrorists, assuring that her memory will be indelible, and her efforts remembered.

He commiserated with the Nigerian Air Force, airmen, airwomen and all friends of the deceased, recalling her skills in manoeuvring combat helicopters, which he had physically witnessed with pride.

Also, the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Sadique Abubakar, expressed sadness over the death of Ms Arotile.

In a statement released by Mr Abubakar on Wednesday, he said,

“She was a very intelligent, disciplined, confident & courageous young officer who added value wherever she served. As a squadron pilot in Operation GAMA AIKI in Minna, Niger State, she flew her quota of anti-banditry combat missions to ensure a safer, more secured Nigeria.

“I recall meeting her at the Minna Airport, while on operational visit, after one of such missions & seeing her eagerness to contribute towards the restoration of lasting peace to the affected areas. Her death is a huge loss to @NigAirForce family & indeed the entire Nation.

“On behalf officers, airmen, airwomen & civilian staff of @NigAirForce, I once more condole with the family of late Flying Officer Arotile over this irreparable loss & sincerely pray that the Almighty God grants her soul eternal rest.”

Also, a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has commiserated with the family of Ms Arotile.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Mr Saraki said, “I woke up to read the very sad news of the unfortunate passing away of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile – Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot.

“Flying Officer Arotile dedicated her life to the service of her nation and in so doing became a role model for millions of Nigerians on breaking glass ceilings. She will be missed.

“I commiserate with @NigAirForce, her family and friends. I pray the Almighty gives them the strength to bear this loss”, he added.

A leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, also commiserated with the family of Ms Arotile.

In a statement released on Wednesday, he said, “My sincere condolences to the family, friends and Nigerian Air Force colleagues of Flying Officer, Tolulope Arotile.

“Ms. Arotile was a trailblazer in every sense and her sudden passing is a tragic and painful loss for all patriotic Nigerians. May her virtuous soul rest peacefully in the bosom of Allah.”

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Uduaghan Dumps APC, Returns to PDP

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The immediate past Governor of the State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has formally defected from the All Progressives Congress to the Peoples Democratic Party.
Uduaghan re-joined the PDP at his Unit 1, Ward 6, at Abigborodo, his country home, and was accompanied to the venue by thousands of his supporters amid cheering solidarity songs on Monday.
“I am back to join forces with other party greats to strengthen our party, the largest party in Africa -PDP!,” the ex-governor had earlier stated on his Twitter handle.
The return to PDP is coming barely one year after he took a critical decision to join APC on 29 August, 2019, in protest of his alleged maltreatment in PDP.
Uduaghan, who was Delta State Governor for eight years in the build-up to the 2019 elections defected to the APC where he contested and lost the Delta South Senatorial seat in 2019 to incumbent Senator James Manager.
There have been insinuations that the former governor is planning a comeback to the PDP in a bid to boost his chances in 2023 as PDP now fully controlled the South-South region.
Uduaghan met with Governor Ifeanyi Okoya two weeks ago to fine-tune plans to return to PDP, his former base.
He also met with James Ibori, who was also a former governor in Delta State.
Uduaghan was the Governor of Delta State on PDP platform for eight years (2007-2015).
He had earlier served as the State’s Commissioner for Health and later Secretary to the State Government under the administration of Ibori.
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Electoral College Appoints Rate Your Leader Founder, Joel Popoola As Member, Board of Directors

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By Eric Elezuo

The Electoral College, Nigeria, has appointed the Founder, Rate Your Leader, Mr Joel Popoola, into its board of trustees as director to oversee International Mobilisation.

Popoola’s appointment was contained in two letters addressed to the technology entrepreneur and digital democracy campaigner as well as the board members of the college and signed by its Executive Director, Mr Kunle Lawal.

The Electoral College observed that the democracy campaigner, who has made headlines in recent times with reference to his technological innovations and writeups has been a great ally of the college while expressing utmost happiness and pride to have him on the board of the College.

“We are sure the board would be proud with the impact he can bring,” Kunle Lawal noted.

While expressing the best wishes of the College, and acknowledging that Popoola’s appointment is with immediate effect, Mr Lawal added that the award winning techpreneur is ‘valued as an asset addition and most of all for his love for country (Nigeria).’

“I look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship between us all and the expansion of the college,” Lawal stressed.

Responding to his appointment, Popoola noted that the reward for hard work is more work, stressing that the appointment is not just a recognition of his efforts, but an opportunity to do a lot more for humanity.

“I see the appointment to the board of Nigerian Electoral College as not just a recognition of efforts, but an opportunity to do a lot more to raise the bars of the Nigeria’s electoral system and serve humanity for the good,” he said.

It would be recalled that Mr. Popoola was earlier in the month welcomed on board of the UK Tech Nation Founders’ Network as a full fledged member.

Among many other honours trailing his humble contributions to the digitalization of democratic process around the world,  he is an advance member of the Institute of Directors Great Britain & Northern Ireland, and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Also appointed is⁩ Hakeem Condotti, a well seasoned entrepreneur and African player in business and diplomacy. He would serve as Director: External Relations.

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Wike Locks Horns with Amaechi in War of Words at Justice Karibi-Whyte’s Funeral

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and his predecessor, Rotimi Amaechi, on Saturday engaged in a verbal fight at the burial of a former Justice of the Supreme Court, Adolphus Karibi-Whyte, in the Abonnema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of the state.

Amaechi, who is the Minister of Transportation, while speaking at the funeral service, lamented what he term the rising insecurity and political intimidation in the state, saying the state was back to the time of Ateke Tom, a former militant leader, who is now the traditional head of Okochiri town in Okrika LGA of the state.

“You have lost your voice. The sage (the late justice) has gone under and nobody is speaking. When I was governor, I gave people voices, but they have blocked those voices.

“Everyone is scared. We are going back to when Ateke held sway. We are going back to the period where we run away from our people. We are back to a period when nobody could speak. But from next year, I will begin to speak, if nobody wants to speak.

“We are all here because we need to bury a man God has blessed. I have stopped travelling because of bad weather, but I told myself I must be here because of Justice Whyte.

“If you knew Justice (Karibi-Whyte) very well, you will know I was close to him. I was one of the few people he mentored,” Amaechi stated.

Wike on his part described the late Karibi-Whyte as an epitome of unshakable integrity, civility and dignity, but noted that comments credited to Amaechi were embarrassing.

Responding to Amaechi, Wike who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Chief Emeka Woke, said the minister had lost touch with developments in the state, adding that since the launching of Operation Sting by his administration, the security situation had improved greatly.

Wike said, “It is unfortunate for Amaechi to come to Kalabari land and accuse former President Goodluck Jonathan of not developing the area six years after he had left office.

“I wonder why the former governor will choose to make such embarrassing remarks at the funeral of late Justice Karibi-Whyte, a man he (Amaechi) claimed to be his mentor.”

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